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GRACE'S AGRACETUS UNIT RECEIVES PATENT FOR GENE TRANSFER TECHNOLOGY

 GRACE'S AGRACETUS UNIT RECEIVES PATENT FOR GENE TRANSFER TECHNOLOGY
 MIDDLETON, Wis., June 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Agracetus, Inc., a subsidiary of W. R. Grace & Co. (NYSE: GRA), today announced receipt of a patent covering a unique technology used to transfer genes to treat human diseases such as AIDS, develop transgenic plants, and other specialized uses. The patent, U.S. Patent No. 5,120,657, covers its Accell gene insertion instrument which was invented by Agracetus scientists, Dr. Dennis McCabe and Brian Martinell. The Accell gene gun is used exclusively by Agracetus.
 The superior design and operating characteristics of the Accell gene gun have made Agracetus the recognized world leader in this technology. "This patent is critical to our company because it confirms the uniqueness of Accell technology now being used for both human gene therapy and the development of genetically superior crops," according to Russell Smestad, Agracetus vice president for finance and commercial development. This patent is part of a broad series of patent filings internationally covering Accell gene delivery instrumentation and gene delivery protocols.
 Current research into Accell gene therapy is focused on an array of illnesses whose genetic bases are being more clearly understood, including AIDS, cancer, high cholesterol, Parkinson's disease, and muscular dystrophy. Research in these areas is currently in laboratory and pre-clinical evaluation and is part of Grace's research program in health care.
 Applications of Accell and traditional genetic engineering methods in plants are more advanced and expanding rapidly. Transgenic soybeans with improved agronomic traits and insect resistant crops developed under license to third parties are the products nearest to commercialization. Second generation technologies are targeted at specialty cotton fiber engineered for characteristics such as improved dye binding, superabsorbency, or other traits. Unlike first generation agronomic products, these specialty products represent unique high value opportunities with potential to open up new markets for the world's premier natural fiber.
 The Accell gene gun uses a technique called particle-mediated gene transfer. In this technique, genes are coated onto microscopic gold particles and mechanically accelerated into living cells. Under the proper conditions, the genes migrate from the gold particles and integrate into the chromosomes of the recipient cells, functioning like resident genes. Through this technique, pre-existing cellular dysfunction can be corrected or a new function enabled.
 Agracetus, Inc., is a world leader in gene delivery technology. W. R. Grace & Co. is the world's largest specialty chemicals company with a leadership position in health care. Other Grace health care services and products include: National Medical Care (NMC), the nation's leading provider of dialysis services through a network of nearly 400 clinics; NMC Homecare offers in-home life-sustaining intravenous and respiratory therapies as well as advanced medical equipment to patients requiring specialized treatment; the patented artificial pancreas currently in development will help thousands of diabetic patients control their lives without injections; and Cross Country Healthcare, the leading provider of traveling nursing services. Additionally, NMC manufactures more than 1,000 specialized dialysis products and distributes a range of 2,500 medical supplies to hospitals, clinics and home patients. NMC's LifeChem clinical laboratories provide support to the dialysis treatment network with a data bank unmatched in managing patient care.
 -0- 6/16/92
 /CONTACT: Chuck Suits of W. R. Grace & Co., 407-362-2600 or 800-GRACE99/
 (GRA) CO: W. R. Grace & Co.; Agracetus, Inc. ST: Florida IN: CHM SU:


AW-JB -- FL002 -- 0570 06/16/92 10:18 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 16, 1992
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